I’ve been a fan of shows that restore old and unusable items, from beat-up classic cars to rusty wrought iron gates. I observe how the pickers (folks who restore vintage items) see the potential and worth of each item they have scavenged from old homes. Depending on the severity of the damage, it would take them a while to clean and make this vintage finds new and valuable again.
There is nothing extraordinary about my life. I was a simple girl who grew up in the 80’s. An obedient daughter to my parents, a diligent student, and a good friend. Despite living an uncomplicated life, I have always felt I needed something in my life.
Filling the void
To say that I am a hopeless romantic is an understatement. I pursued romantic love in my tweens. I was the girl who would follow my crush in school. During summer, I would ride by bike around my crush’s home just to have a glimpse of him. My first serious relationship happened just when I was about to finish high school. At 16, I was too consumed by this love that it was all I thought about. Two and a half years later, it ended. It was my first broken heart. I was devastated. I tried so hard to win him back but to no avail.
After that breakup, I felt so alone. It took many years to recover and I thought I’ve lost that one great love. I was already in college when I joined a dating contest on the radio. I was the “searchee” looking for a date. When my friends found out about it, they laughed at me and thought I was too desperate. Yes, I was but I didn’t admit it.
Soon, other relationships came but didn’t they didn’t last. The word “desperate” was the fitting description of my love life then. I even resorted to chatting with strangers on the internet. I’ve had online romances and received marriage proposals from a US Navy, an Englishman from South Africa, and a Filipino based in Canada. Good thing I didn’t take them seriously!
Many failed relationships later, I met the man whom I will marry. It was a whirlwind romance. I wanted to settle down right away when I met my husband. After just one year, we got married. It was a simple, intimate, and sweet wedding.
Soon, the reality of married life sank in. Adjusting to a new season in life while still getting to know my new husband and having a new baby to care for was overwhelming for me. My relationship with my husband was not what I expected it to be. I thought that marrying him would solve that longing in my heart and that he would fill that void I’ve had since I was a child.
I was reconnected with an old flame two years in our marriage. The weekly badminton meetups rekindled my feelings toward this person. I know that it was wrong to entertain those thoughts but I was an unhappy wife and I needed some sense of validation. There was a constant battle in my head. One thought pushed me to act on the emotions to be “happy”. While the other insisted that I was doing something wrong.
There was a very strong emotional attachment to the person yet we didn’t act on our desires. Thank God! However, I knew in my heart that it was still sin. It was a sin against God and my husband even if it was an emotional affair. This relationship didn’t last long. A friend of mine who was in a similar situation advised against it. I can never forget our phone conversation when I was trying to make sense of everything. She said, “Why are you dwelling on your feelings for this person? Why don’t you fix your marriage? That is the best thing to do.”
I don’t know how long after that when my husband and I were invited by an acquaintance to a Bible Study at their home. After many failed attempts, my husband and I finally agreed to meet with them Friday nights for a Bible study. It was God’s way of restoring my life and my marriage. God wanted to change the way I view love and gave me a new perspective.
I knew what Jesus Christ did on the cross and how he died to save the world from sin. I learned that from school. But those didn’t change my heart. Those teachings remained in my head for many years. Until God finally opened my heart and removed the blinders from my spiritual eyes through the Bible through “The Purpose Driven Life” series.
It is personal
The Lord revealed to me that it’s not about me but it is all about HIM. The world was created by Him, in Him, and through Him. Everything in creation bows to him. He is the author of life. He is also the finisher and completer of our faith.
The sacrificial death on the cross was FOR ME. Because of my sins, I was supposed to hang on that cross. I was supposed to die (physically and spiritually) for my sins. But Jesus chose to love God and love me by enduring those whips, insults, blood oozing from the crown of thorns, carrying that heavy wood and be humiliated in front of everyone.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:16-18
All the words in the Bible became so real to me. I remember reading them in the past but they never made sense. But in God’s perfect timing and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, I was able to absorb God’s word. (1 Corinthians 2:14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.)
He restores my soul
I then accepted the free gift that God was offering through Jesus Christ. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
I know that no matter how many times I pray, how often I go to church or even be a good person, I can never measure up to God’s standard. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9